As I get Closer and Closer to Self Publishing My First Novella, I’ve come to the realization that there seems to be a Reoccurring Theme in some of My Writing.
Let me Demonstrate;
In September of 2011, I started Writing My Novella “I Died Once“… Now this is a story about a troubled 15 year old girl… Ok
By the time I started Writing This Novella, I had two Different Blog Series Going… One of which was “Dark Rider“, which is definitely about a Young Girl… In fact it’s basically about a Lost Soul, who basically does Mercenary Work as a way to make a living, and spend his “Purposeless” Days… But that quickly changes, as he finds he is actually able to alter, and or foil the acts of many Evil Doers… But like I say, he’s not a Young Girl, he’s basically like a 35 year old Warrior, with the Looks of a Dark Brooding Barbarian.
But the Second Blog Series I was Writing, was called “Captain Fire 197“, and was indeed about a Young 17 Year Old Girl, who through her own misfortune, ended up on a Ship of Cosmic Crusaders… Kinda, Lol I’m being Vague in these descriptions.
Here I’ll just use the Description I used on My “Captain Fire 197″ Page
“All that Nisho has ever known, is gone. Join her as she seeks out her New Identity aboard the Rogue Ship 197, with it’s Crew of Crusaders for Hire, Lead by the Mysterious Captain Fire“
Now there are characters in their 20’s, 30’s, 40’s and up in the book, but the Story basically revolves around the Main Character, who is just 17.
Now I’ve Written many other Blog Series in the last 8 Months, that aren’t about young Girls… But as it’s been falling, the one’s I”m Self Publishing so far are “I Died Once” (15 Year Old Girl), “Chess With Agatha” (17 Year Old Girl, and after that I’m looking to Publish My Blog Series “Allure” as a Series of Short Novellas, whose Main Character is a 16 Year Old Girl, Lol
Now what this all got me thinking is, are these books Technically Young Adult (YA) Fiction Books?
I mean, I didn’t Write them Specifically for Young Girls, No I’d say that they would be a good read for anyone 14-60+ really…
But, because the Main Characters are Young, should I be marketing them as YA Fiction?
So I decided to do a bit of research, and came across a Few things.
First, let me begin with the Wikipedia Definition of Young-adult Fiction
WIKIPEDIA – YOUNG ADULT FICTION;
Young-adult fiction or young adult literature (often abbreviated as YA), also juvenile fiction, is fiction written, published, or marketed to adolescents and young adults. The Young Adult Library Services (YALSA) of the American Library Association (ALA) defines a young adult as someone between the ages of twelve and eighteen. Authors and readers of young adult (YA) novels often define the genre as literature as traditionally written for ages ranging from twelve years up to the age of eighteen, while some publishers may market young adult literature to as low as age ten or as high as age twenty-five. The terms young-adult novel, juvenile novel, young-adult book, etc. refer to the works in the YA category.
YA literature shares the following fundamental elements of the fiction genre: character, plot, setting, theme, and style. However, theme and style are often subordinated to the more tangible elements of plot, setting, and character, which appeal more readily to younger readers. The vast majority of YA stories portray an adolescent, rather than an adult or child, as the protagonist.
The subject matter and story lines of YA literature are typically consistent with the age and experience of the main character, but, beyond that, YA stories span the spectrum of fiction genres. Themes in YA stories often focus on the challenges of youth, sometimes referred to as problem novels or coming-of-age novels. Writing styles of YA stories range widely, from the richness of literary style to the clarity and speed of the unobtrusive and free verse. via Wikipedia
Next, I came across a Discussion Forum on Amazon. After checking it out, I noted that it was actually a Thread that happened in the years 2007-2009… So some of the Info./Opinions might be a bit dated… But, maybe not.
Only The Truly Interested are Likely to Read All of This, Lol (You may want to grab a Snack or Drink before this one, Lol)
AMAZON DISCUSSION FORUM – CRITERIA FOR YA FICTION
Initial post: May 8, 2007 1:54:32 PM PDT
What should a YA novel contain…or not contain…to be considered a “good book”?
In reply to an earlier post on Dec 26, 2007 11:35:13 AM PST
Computer Geek says:
Mystery, love, romance, relative to young adults, mystical, ethereal, promise of a better life or world. Some female dominance through intelligence and natural abilities even if not of this world. Sixth sense, female intuition.
Young caring intelligent men willing to be buddies and friends first before lovers. Good story line. Collaboration of friends. Good smart ending where life is improved. Journey to understanding and self knowledge, self awareness and for those around empathy.
In reply to an earlier post on Jan 2, 2008 6:35:58 AM PST
There are a few important characteristics that make good young adult fiction, rather that simply good fiction. First, the main character is generally a young adult or the narrator is a young adult. Young teens find it difficult to identify and enjoy reading about adults dealing with adult issues. Next, the sentence structure and text organization is less complex than in novels for adults. There are many young adults who are smart and competent readers, but are less experienced readers than many adult readers and can be frustrated by complexity. That is one reason some adult fiction writers are more enjoyed by young readers than others. I read a Clive Cussler novel in both the original and a young adult version. Often the changes involved breaking long complex sentences into several smaller ones. Several times wandering side stories were eliminated if the story didn’t depend on them, or simplified if necessary to the plot. Third, no matter how ugly the life problems a main character must deal with are, the book ends on a note of hope and the belief that problems can be overcome.
Other than these characteristics – excellent young adult fiction is simply excellent fiction.
In reply to an earlier post on Jan 5, 2008 3:29:42 PM PST
Elaine the Author says:
as a writer of YA books…it should have a young adult as the main character and a life changing ending. it should draw the youth in and keep them there. it should be detailed but not vulgar it should speak to both the youth and adult side of the young adult in a way they both learn from, understand and enjoy. and most importantly it should open dialogue between adults and other youth without fear of shame or reproach…i hope this has help you…if you get a chance check out my book…The House With Dirt Walls…it has gotten great reviews from young adults.
In reply to an earlier post on Jan 5, 2008 4:47:46 PM PST
I love your statement that YA fiction must speak to both the youth and the adult side of the reader. Absolutely!
In reply to an earlier post on Jan 5, 2008 4:54:53 PM PST
Elaine the Author says:
yes….that’s what the youth who have read my book have told me…they like the fact that i break things down but still speak to them and treated them as the reader as a knowlegeable adult….i also speak to a lot of youth groups and this is what they enjoy most….i truly beleive we need to give our youth more credit…our future depends on it….
In reply to an earlier post on Jan 21, 2008 10:24:41 AM PST
Scotti Cohn says:
I have been told by another author that “these days,” a Young Adult novel (as opposed to a Middle Grade novel) usually includes graphic violence and sexual issues. The age of the main character is also important. As a writer of YA nonfiction and fiction, I prefer not to write graphic violence or sex scenes. I don’t require them in the fiction I read as an adult, either. But the person who gave me the information was basing it on experience in the publishing world in our current times. Apparently the majority of YA readers want the “edgy” component (i.e., violence and sex).
In reply to an earlier post on Jan 21, 2008 9:20:34 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Feb 14, 2008 11:34:28 AM PST
Katrina L. Burchett says:
Although there is an “edgy” component, I wasn’t thinking “edgy” when I wrote my debut novel, Choices, which focuses on the teen sex issue. I was thinking “realistic fiction” –Teens are having sex. I wanted to go deeper than the sexually active teen & teen pregnancy statistics and show reasons why these young people are choosing to engage in premarital sex. There is a character whose dad beats her mom, so there is domestic violence. And, although I was careful not to show relations between sexually active characters (I left it to the reader’s imagination), there is a rape, and it is graphic so there would be no doubt in the reader’s mind that it was a rape. Believe me, that was the most difficult part to write.
In reply to an earlier post on Jan 28, 2008 10:44:53 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Jan 28, 2008 10:46:00 AM PST
Hi Scotti: I was told the same thing by a couple of agents with my novel, Songs for a Teenage Nomad, when I was shopping it. It had some harsh issues in it that many of my students have gone through (I’m a high school teacher) but no sex, no cutting, no graphic violence…etc. Just normal “it’s hard to be a teenager” stuff. I was lucky to find a publisher who loved that about it (it was “literary and edgy enough” without some of that other stuff) and it has been a book that teachers are able to recommend to students without worrying about an angry phone call home, but I think we live in a provocative age where “edgy” just keeps getting edgier. I think, though, that we can still remember when a first kiss was HUGE and when a fight with a parent was HUGE and write to those memories, write for the kids whose lives are hard enough just being teenagers. I’ve had some amazing responses back from teenagers who’ve thanked me for just writing about real stuff that’s happening to everyday kids. And I think there is still a market out there for just plain good books!
In reply to an earlier post on Feb 14, 2008 8:56:11 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Feb 14, 2008 8:58:23 AM PST
Terry Reschke says:
I think that they should include the same things as any great book should have in it. Teens are after all basiclly adults. They have a good understanding of life by this point. With that said I would like you to check out my new book. (The Attic Above)… Here is what it is about:
The Attic Above by Terry Allen Reschke
This book will take you on a ride with Tory and his newfound friend, James. You see, James was murdered in England many years ago. His house has been moved to the United States and completely rebuilt. With the help of Tory James will find out how he was killed and by who. Given the fact that Tory finds an old necklace which links him to James and gives Tory new tools to aid in his search for answers to this mystery. Tory goes back in time to right how James was wronged hoping not to change the present by his actions. Many twists and turns are taken in finding the correct path to take.
In reply to an earlier post on Apr 27, 2008 2:27:20 PM PDT
Jonathan Elliott says:
It depends whether the target audience is male or female, as well as the age group and individual interests. Boys are the toughest group to appeal to as the book has to compete with video games and outdoor sports, which is no mean feat. Comedy and adventure stories seem to work well with this demographic. Camp Creepy Time is a good example. With girls, I would agree that romance, strong female protagonists, life issues, and the quality of the writing are important factors in what makes a good book. The Bridge to Terabithia would be a book that fills the bill. Some books like the Harry Potter series appeal to both genders, again depending on their interests.
In reply to an earlier post on Sep 10, 2008 10:22:11 AM PDT
Surely this depends on your definition of a good book as much as anything. I would think a book that’s well written, as original as possible with something of its own to say, characters of its own (not just the stock or semi stock characters that seem to appear in any genre) Also whether the aim is just to sell piles and piles of them (in which case girly and involving boyfriend problems and rich people is probably the best bet – as in “adult” fiction there are conventional forms that sell) or whether you want some people to remember it/value it.
People are talking about “breaking things down” but maybe authors should just try writing books as sincerely and naturally as possible and leave it up to the “young adults” to decide whether they’re capable of coping with the writing or not. I know I and many others have been reading all kinds of books ( long, winding sentences and adult issues and all) since I was twelve or thirteen. A lot of suggestions for content seem to paint the writer as a kind of educator of youth with ideally hoped for kinds of people showing good values and endings with hope and lashings of self-knowledge.
Too many books seem to try to create a lead character that everybody can identify with, dealing with situations that everybody has seen some version of ( for fear of “alienating” readers or some such) but as proved by the popularity of vampire stories lately people like to read about lives different to their own just as much.
or to put it in a shorter form: originality, a good firm, interesting story line and strong, detailed characters not necessarily in the emotional sense but in the sense of their existence on and off the pages, interesting relationships, arguments, bonds, fun people, bad people, strange experiences, ordinary experiences, something to envy/dismiss, familiar and unfamiliar well depicted places, ambiguity, depth, honesty and lack thereof, as much reality as as few storybook morals as any “adult” would want…
In reply to an earlier post on Sep 13, 2008 7:47:04 AM PDT
Dave Garr says:
I think that the world, especially the civilized world have turned their backs on true love relationships, and made loving, sexual, encounters something evil and lude. In my writings I try to show the relationship build until the overwhelming passion takes place and the control of the sexual drives can no longer be put off, it is seen in a loving yet animalistic fashion. When two people get together in the love making experiance, not in just loose sexual fun, but in true love, it is very moving and beautiful. I am in the processes of creating a new series one book is out already and the sequel is in the making, that shows this type of loving, and desire for the one person who satisfies the longings that everyone has, the hope to be one with that person.
If I were a young adult again, with the experiances that I have had, I would wait for that type of relationship instead of jumping into something that became a nightmare of frustration. No matter what else is in a book, you must see some type of loving relationships, that brings hope for the future.
In reply to an earlier post on Feb 18, 2009 4:58:32 AM PST
Richard G. Geldard says:
Winter Break: A Luminous Journey of Wisdom and Love is a young adult novel that meets all of the criteria you mention. It is available on amazon.
In reply to an earlier post on Mar 5, 2009 9:20:04 AM PST
Tina Saint-Paul says:
Please read my newly-published book, “Figuring It All Out,” as it contains all of those elements. No sex or violence, or relationships other than friends but they all work together and teach others what is good about them. The book is about celebrating ourselves and each other, with some psychic experiences thrown in, and the end is a resolution to many of the world’s problems. I believe that teens should be talked up to, not talked down to, and it is our responsibility to bring people up to a new level, rather than working to keep them (adult and young adult alike) down in the gutter, as many books, movies, songs and TV shows are doing these days. Our bright, new world calls for bright, new, forward movement – love, caring and respect.
Lastly, for those of you that are still around, I Found a List of Popular YA Fiction Books… But I’ll just give you the Link to that Below
Now keep in mind, I didn’t look all that hard, or that long, these are just some of the things I came across pretty much right away… So any Thoughts, Opinions on all of this is Very Much Appreciated, and Encouraged
Thanks For Reading/Listening